A group of United Nations human rights experts yesterday urged the Bangladesh government to annul the death sentence of Jamaat-e-Islami central executive council member Mir Quasem Ali and to retry him in compliance with international standards.
Quasem was sentenced to death in 2014 by the International Crimes Tribunal for crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War in 1971. The decision was upheld by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in March this year.
The experts' request has come as the SC prepares to hear the review appeal of Quasem today, according to a UN press release issued in Geneva yesterday.
"Ali's trial and appeal processes were reportedly marred with irregularities and failed to meet international standards on fair trial and due process for the imposition of the death penalty," noted the UN experts on extrajudicial executions, independence of the judiciary, torture, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.
“International law, accepted as binding by Bangladesh, provides that capital punishment may only be imposed following trials that comply with the most stringent requirements of fair trial and due process, or could otherwise be considered an arbitrary execution,” they cautioned.
The UN human rights experts also expressed alarm at reports that Quasem's son and part of his legal defence team, Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem, was abducted from his home on August 9 by Bangladeshi security forces, two weeks before his father's review hearing.
“We understand that no information has been given on where he is being held, by whom or under what suspicion or charge. We urge the authorities to immediately disclose the whereabouts of Mir Quasem [Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem],” they said.
The experts are: Agnes Callamard, new UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Mónica Pinto, UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Juan E Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Sètondji Roland Adjovi, current chairperson of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.